Tennis: Emotional Raonic mourns Canada shooting victims

Milos Raonic in a match against Viktor Troicki on Jan 23, 2016.
Milos Raonic in a match against Viktor Troicki on Jan 23, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

MELBOURNE (AFP) - An emotional Milos Raonic dedicated his Australian Open win to the victims of a high school shooting in Canada as he paid tribute to his adopted homeland on Saturday.

Montenegro-born Raonic, 25, was close to tears after his 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 third-round win over Serbia's Viktor Troicki, as he mourned the tragedy in a remote community that left four dead.

"I want to take a moment and give thoughts to that community, the families, the students and the school affected and we wish you all the best," he told the crowd.

"Today's victory was for that community and a quick recovery. All of Canada, and I'm sure the world, is behind you," Raonic said, before quickly departing the court.

Later, he explained that the emotions caused by the rare Canadian school shooting had fired him to play with huge intensity.

"Maybe to me today's match really sort of mattered heavily, and I would do everything I can to find a way to win," he told reporters.

"But at the end of the day, to be in that situation - there is five (four) people that will never go back to school again.

"That's just far bigger than whatever thing I could have done on court today. It's especially difficult, when it's such a small community and it's a tragedy that's from within a certain group of people, most likely."

He added: "Canada has been phenomenal to myself, my brother, my sister, their kids, my parents. I'm here because I moved to Canada and because my parents took me there (from Montenegro) in '94."

The Canadian power-server, seeded 13, overwhelmed Troicki with his only trouble coming in the final set, where he fought back from an early break.

Raonic, coached by former world No. 1 Carlos Moya, has not dropped a set going into the last 16 but he now faces a far stiffer test in the shape of 2014 winner Stan Wawrinka, the reigning French Open champion.

"He's played solid through what I have seen of his first three matches. I have it within myself to be able to find the solution," Raonic said.

"The question is will I step up and do it? Hopefully I'm able to put the pieces together." The Canadian rolled through the opening two sets for the loss of five games but struck some resistance early in the final set when he was broken in the second game.

But Raonic fought back with breaks in the seventh and ninth games before completing victory over Troicki, who beat Grigor Dimitrov in last week's final of the Sydney International.

Raonic is unbeaten this season after shocking Roger Federer to win the Brisbane International final. He reached the quarter-finals last year in Melbourne where he lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.